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The Supreme Court will settle the Apple-Samsung patent dispute for good

Updated 7 years ago
Published Mar 21st, 2016 10:47AM EDT
Apple Vs Samsung Supreme Court

You remember the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung that just seems like it will never die? Well it looks like the two companies are headed to the ultimate showdown in the United States Supreme Court. Reuters brings us word that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Samsung’s appeal of what it claims are the excessive penalties that it’s paid for infringing upon Apple’s design patents.

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Samsung last year paid $548 million to Apple as part of a jury verdict from 2012 that declared the Korean manufacturer had infringed upon several of Apple’s patents. Samsung is petitioning to pare back $399 million of that amount, which means it would leave the total amount paid to Apple in this case at $149 million.

Depending on how this case is resolved, it could set a major precedent for just how much design patents are valued in intellectual property disputes.

“The appeal to the Supreme Court could clarify how important design is to the overall value of products involved in patent disputes,” Reuters explains. “Samsung said in court papers that awarding total profits from the sale of its devices with those designs, even if they relate only to a small portion of the phone, allows for ‘unjustified windfalls’ for Apple, far beyond the inventive value of the patents.”

The Supreme Court right now is short one justice after the death of Antonin Scalia earlier this year, and Republicans have said they will not hold hearings to confirm President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland. So it might be possible that a verdict in the Apple-Samsung patent dispute could be a 4-4 tie that would likely uphold the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington’s decision in favor of the patent verdict last year.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.